Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Is it the last of the really beautiful days? Or will we have a rerun in later fall? Perhaps we should embrace it as a final hurrah, reveling in the splendid warmth, the sunshine, the gentle breezes. Yes, never assume a repeat of perfection. Love what's before you.

And we do.

(morning garden walk: the Big Bed...)

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(the way things look out by the porch...)

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(sunshine on our faces...)

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(happy, who continues to be... happy)

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We play disc golf. It's such a perfect day for it! In future years, as I recall these disc golf days, I'll think of this day, with that smell of sunshine hitting the golden rod. And I'll feel the wet dew from the grass which we soaked in with our bare feet on the disc fields.

(on the ride there...)

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(it's bad news when your disc flies into the flowers and prairie bushes to the side...)

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And we're not done with the day! We return to our county park, convinced that on this sunny day, we'll have a full swarm of Monarch butterflies.

We see not a single one. They've moved on!

(these guys, on the other hand, have not...)

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As always, Snowdrop comes to the farmette after school. No, Snowdrop, I don't know if that flower is edible. Best not try!

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We do a lot of indoor stuff. It just worked out that way. We read, we build with Legos. We play airplane ride to Snow Country.

And we tell the farmette animals they'll have to wait. It's not dinnertime just yet.

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But oh my, are there a lot of them! Too many, right? Definitely too many...

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


It was a unique morning. I could give it many titles: "at long last..." fits well. Or, "it's now or never!" Or "big steps." Or perhaps a combination of some such words.

We wake to fog. That's not unusual: yesterday was quite the same: dense fog greeting me as I go out to feed the cats.

But wait, where are my favorites? The four little ones and, too, the teen girl with the furry tail and the incongruous name of Dark Blue Tulip (Snowdrop at work) do not show up for feeding time.This is a little disconcerting. Why are they hiding?

I follow Dance after she gobbles half the food in the bowls set out for the remaining cats. She knows I'm behind her. She leads me through a thicket of brush on the floor of the old orchard. Then she jumps on the almost hidden stump of a tree Ed chopped down. Her kitties are on it. She settles there to nurse them.

I have no explanation for this behavior. Were they spooked by yesterday's evening fuss? Do they know we may be packing up two of them and sending them away? Did some other cat or animal chase them out of the garage?

I let them be. I'm in a bit of a hurry, because at 8 I'm to meet the young family at school. They're introducing Sparrow to his classroom -- he'll be starting school in three weeks. Since I'll be picking him up, I want to get a sense of stuff. (Even as the class and teachers are the same ones Snowdrop had three years back.) As I get in the car to drive off, I see Stop Sign trotting up to the house.

I call Ed. I mean, it's good timing: the chickens aren't out, the other cats are fed. She has been going into the cage (set closely to the farmhouse door) to eat for several days now. The clinic is open this morning.
Do you want to try to try to capture her? -- I ask, then drive off, not really waiting for an answer.

At school, the family is excited to start this new chapter in Sparrow's life! We're all here to encourage him.

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(soon to be "school boy!")

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Sparrow is not yet solid on his feet: he'll be by far the youngest in the class, but he is a happy boy and curious about those around him, so everyone's optimistic about the year ahead!

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I return to the farmhouse and note that Ed's car is gone. So is the trap.

And so there was success! We have finally gotten fertile myrtle to the vet!

We have a late but celebratory breakfast. On the porch.

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And now Ed returns to bed and I review my options. Perhaps I should play with the kitties? If we want to get the others to be less skittish, we have to spend more time with them.

Or maybe I should take out at least some of the weeds in the places where I want to put down seeds?

I give it a go. Just a little. Say around the tee-pee, to give the clematis there a clean slate. Maybe also around Ed's marigolds. And while I'm here (with the cheepers at my heels -- suddenly they have me stirring up the soil again... bugs! worms!), maybe also around the birch? All the way to the sheep shed?

I work a solid two hours. And yes, I got maybe 75% of the weeds out of there. I mean, the weather is beautiful and the seeds, ready for sowing, are plentiful. If I create a hospitable space for them, maybe finally we will have beaten down the invasive weeds that tend to dominate the space at that end of farmette lands.

And then I sit down with a sandwich and a coffee on the porch and refuse to move. I am spent!

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In the early afternoon, I'm out again. It's time to pick up Snowdrop.

Today, when I suggest a neighborhood adventure, she enthusiastically agrees. We start with a snack at the coffee shop.

(Snowdrop thinks she likes doughnuts more than she actually does...)

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And we move on to the playground. It's so incredibly gorgeous today!

(Some things don't change: she still wants to play ice cream shop.)

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That smell of autumn! A little dry, a little crispy, with a touch of mowed hay. It's with us now. Fall may not come until Monday, but today surely offered a good imitation of it!

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In the evening, Ed brings home a very displeased Stop Sign. Predictably, she flew out of the cage when the door was opened. But she did not run wild. When I brought food to the writer's shed (she was hiding under it), she came out to eat. We're not sure whether she is lactating, but if she is, it will be her last run.

If two little ones go to a good home this Sunday, we'll have only two remaining that will require a vet's intervention in another month or so.

Phew! It's been quite the busy day! Uniquely beautiful!

Monday, September 16, 2019


It's going to be a beautiful, sunny, warm day! Our wildflower seeds have arrived. Wouldn't this be a fine time to plant the various meadows and beds, so that they will deliver the flowers we crave next spring?

It is an overwhelming job. Not because of the work of planting, but because we don't really know the best way to do this. So, after feeding the kitties, I go back to bed and I stay there. (In my defense, I'm nursing sniffles...)

By mid morning, a great desire to eat a good breakfast on the porch pushes us up and out.

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And then I survey the gardens and still I have no good plan. The problem is that the places I want to seed have a mix of weeds and good flowers in them. But to take out the weeds by hand is daunting. It would take weeks to clear the spaces. Should we be half-assed about it as usual and just sow the seeds and hope for a miracle? Should we mow down everything? Till the whole area? I just don't know...

(Flower beds, from the perspective of fall... these don't require care right now; perennials fend for themselves in the dormant periods.)

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(everything is so... September!)

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(meadow in the young orchard...)

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In the meantime, a friend contacted me and asked if she could take in one of the kittens. Well of course! Ed prompts -- two would be even better, they're so bonded! My friend and her family are, in our minds, ideal. They're great animal and nature lovers, they know their way around pets. But should we keep our favorites? Or conversely, should we hand over the friendliest one, because she (or he) has the greatest chance of feeling joy in a nurturing environment?

I feel like we're sending off a kid to college. Or worse, into the arms of a loved one in her new home!

I remind myself we will have ten left. Well, maybe nine. Plus the elusive Stop Sign. Still, there is a twinge of angst. Will the little guy(s) behave? Will they thrive and prosper?

In the afternoon, Snowdrop is here to play. And play we do!

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She is full of spirit today (she cajoles Ed to join us here...)!

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Toward evening, my friend comes over to meet the kitties. Snowdrop is quite excited to introduce the little ones to her, but of course, none of the cats here are used to a lot of commotion. It takes a bit of coaxing to bring them out of hiding.

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In an effort to shift some of that Snowdrop energy away from the picnic table, I suggest that she and I go feed the cheepers. Okay!

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It is quite likely that my friend will come back in a few days for some subset of the littlest ones. I miss them already!

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(I catch up with my friend; Snowdrop keeps us company!)

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The day ends, the seasons shift, the kitties will move on. Farmette life does not stand still.

Sunday, September 15, 2019


We are, in Wisconsin, at the cusp of the great Monarch migration. The beautiful butterflies that we're seeing now are the offspring of ones that came up from Mexico last spring. And they're slowly getting ready to head south to their ancestral homes. By the end of October, they'll be gone.

It's been a good year for Monarchs and, indeed, we've seen more than the usual number here, at the farmette. And it doesn't take a lot of effort to see even more: after breakfast (two out of the four of us are ready to eat!)...

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... Ed and I take the motorbike to Lake Farm Park up the road. The prairie flowers, now heavy with goldenrod, attract a good number of these winged creatures. A few photos for you from our walk...

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Afterwards, we linger with our weekend visitors in the farmette courtyard. We try to convince them that taking two little kittens home is a terrific idea, but their drive back to Washington state is long and these guys would have a tough time of it.

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(Happy looks on...)

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Eventually our friends leave. The cats stay. Ah well... that may be their fate for now.

I think a little about the flower fields. There is still a lot of gold in them! (The occasional day lily!)

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And the nasturtium are really having a wild ride!

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But soon, I'll have to turn my attention to preparing the fields for winter and spring. I have bulbs to plant. Some perennial seeds could go in now. Maybe this week. But not today.

When Ed tries to coax me to drive over with him to the Sunday farmers market on Monroe Street, I balk. I need a nap! Still, we do go. There is a vendor who sells authentic corn tortillas and we want some for dinner.

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We linger for a bit, checking out some of the other stalls. I buy some cheese pastries  ("geese feet") from this Russian baker...

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And when we return home, I fall asleep on the couch. It's been an incredibly busy week!

In the evening, the young family is here for dinner.

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(Dessert: someone has a sweet tooth!)

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(someone loves an evening walk outside...)

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A full day, following a full week and a fuller month!

Good night, harvest gold, good night butterflies, good night children everywhere...

Saturday, September 14, 2019


Good morning, cats... Wait, you're not a cat!

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Hello, deer!

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Breakfast. It's chilly in the morning.

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I meet my daughter and Snowdrop downtown.

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We visit my mom.

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And shop at the farmers market. (And pick acorns and pretend the ribbon is a snake...)

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So many things to buy today!  Green beans. Fingerling potatoes and heirloom tomatoes. Full grown arugula, shallots. Dahlias. Corn! There are farmers who still can harvest it, so lots of corn. Door County peaches. Broccoli and squash for next week. Uff!

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I have help chopping, steaming, mashing, stirring.

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Still need to cook the seafood. And corn. Everything else -- ready.

Time for a break. Outing to Willie Street Fair. Lots of booths selling funky stuff, if you're in the mood for funky stuff. No photos.

Dinner! With friends that Ed has known for.... decades! And now I have known for.... just a little over a decade.

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As the evening creeps in, the light fades. If you look up from the table on the porch, you'll see a reflection of our table in the glass panels of the roof...

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And now it's night time after a full, lovely day.